Science news summaries from around the world: January 2024 | Trending Viral hub


Deciphering a charred scroll from ancient Herculaneum, unlikely flavors in wine affected by climate change, an undiscovered mineral found in China and more in this month’s Quick Hits

World map image.


Ice-penetrating radar has revealed a landscape of valleys and ridges hidden under almost two miles of ice in East Antarctica. Before the continent froze about 34 million years ago, the region may have supported tropical-type forests and wildlife.


Geologists have discovered a new mineral called niobobaotite near the city of Baotou in Inner Mongolia. The mineral contains niobium, a rare earth metal that is used in steel production and becomes a superconductor when cooled to low temperatures.


A child’s jaw discovered decades ago in the Ethiopian highlands has been identified as a two million year old child standing man fossil. Discovered more than 6,500 feet above sea level, the find suggests that larger bodies H. erected it might have been better adapted to higher altitudes than other early hominids.


Critics rate Bordeaux wine better made in years with higher temperature extremes and a higher average temperature. But the area’s climate could become too hot and too dry for grapes to grow, and vineyards are increasingly affected by floods, wildfires and other serious events.


Indonesians who survived the devastating 2004 tsunami in the region have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who did not directly experience the disaster. This “hormonal depletion” demonstrates how traumatic events can affect people for decades.


For the first time, an artificial intelligence program deciphers a word from a badly burned parchment from Herculaneum, one of the cities buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius about 2,000 years ago. By distinguishing the ink from the blackened papyrus background, the technique discovered the word “porphyras”—ancient Greek for “purple.”


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